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Today, meet Tanish Jain from Dwarka, Delhi. He feels that Quantitative Ability in XAT is easier than in CAT exam. He scored higher percentile score in XAT than in CAT. Tanish cracked CAT 2022 with 99.78 percentile and XAT 2023 with 99.99 percentile. He declined admission offer from the high RoI B-School-FMS Delhi and joined XLRI Jamshedpur PGDM-BM 2023-25 batch as XLRI conforms to his criteria of choosing the best B-School.
A B.E. in Electronics and Communications Engineering from Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology, Delhi, Tanish has a work experience of 12 months as Analysts and Senior Analyst with Bain & Company from June 2022 to June 2023. His parents are Doctors but he preferred to pursue his passion for management education.
A reader of fictional novels, Tanish Jain’s CAT and XAT preparation journey is full of lessons. For instance, he overcome his weakness in DM section by practicing as many more questions, previous papers and mocks to maximize on his strengths.
So, with this introduction, let’s get going with the interview!
Q: How did you perform in CAT 2022 and XAT 2023?
A: I scored 99.78 overall percentile in CAT 2022. In XAT 2023, I scored 99.9951 percentile overall and 99.62 in QA; 99.91 in Verbal; 99.90 in DM
Q. How different/unique is XAT as compared to other MBA entrance exams in your opinion?
A. Quants in XAT is easier: The Quantitative Ability section in XAT is generally considered easier than CAT. The question difficulty is lower. However, since the KPI is percentile instead of percentage, it means that there is a greater focus on accuracy in Quants. Also, since the section is shorter than CAT, there is significantly lower scope of skipping out on questions from chapters which are not well prepared.
Verbal in XAT: In Verbal section, Focus on poems along with proses make XAT unique.
RC in XAT: Reading comprehension for XAT requires a bit more thought on message/ theme rather than the mentioned facts.
DM-Unique Section: The Decision Making is a unique part of XAT exam. DM was very difficult to prepare for and was rather done based on prior experiences.
Q: What was your overall preparation strategy for XAT?
A: I prepared for quants for XAT along with my CAT preparation. I Practiced the verbal and DM sections from the previous 10 years papers and had been reading newspapers for the past 6 months which was enough prep for GK section.
Q: How long should a candidate ideally prepare for XAT?
A: If prepared well for CAT then the month between CAT exam and XAT exam is enough. Otherwise, a candidate should take 3-4 months to prepare for XAT
Q: Please share your sectional preparation strategy for XAT? How did you prepare for Verbal & Logical Ability?
A: I prepared for verbal and logical ability by practicing the past year papers and a few mocks. I was already very confident in my grammar and logical reasoning. For someone who doesn't perform well in the first few mocks, I would recommend going through the required theory.
Q: How did you prepare for Decision Making?
A: Decision making is comparatively subjective. I prepared by going through the previous year papers and then spending substantial time thinking on the underlying themes for every question that I was not able to answer.
Q: How did you prepare for QADI?
A: As an engineer, I was confident in my quantitative ability. I practiced for quants and DI from Arun Sharma books and CAT mocks for the CAT exam. Since I performed well in CAT quants, I did not spend a significant amount of time preparing separately for XAT QADI.
Q: How important are GK & Essay in your view in XAT? How did you prepare for them?
A: GK and essay have deceptively high importance in XAT. They might not directly have a weight in percentiles, but the preparation would help a lot during the interviews. The preparation strategy that I followed is:
GK- Read newspapers consistently for 6 months prior to XAT. Very difficult to prepare for GK last minute.
Essay- Went through and thought on songs of the previous essay topics.
Q: Was there any particular section/area that you were weak at? How did you overcome this challenge?
A: I was initially unsure on the DM section. I overcame this challenge by practicing as many questions as possible. Whenever I got a question incorrect, I spent enough time to make sure that I would be able to solve any similar questions.
Q: What role did Mocks play in your success? How many mocks did you attempt before the exam?
A: Mocks played a major part in my success. Most of my preparation was based on practicing through mocks and previous year papers.
Q: Did you self-prepare for XAT Exam or did you attend a Coaching Centre and why?
A: Being a working professional I did not have sufficient time for coaching etc. Accordingly I self prepared with books, previous papers, mocks, news papers, resorting to more practice questions and other material
Q: Which books did you refer or would recommend during your preparation and how effective were they?
A: I would recommend a book having previous year papers and a lot of mocks with solutions and explanations.
Q: Please share your strategy for the XAT Day.
A: Purposefully I did not have any last-minute preparation. My strategy for the XAT day was to have a calm pre-XAT morning.
Q: How did you prepare for GD/PI Rounds? How different was your preparation strategy for BM and HRM interviews?
A: I did several activities to prepare for the GD/PI process as below:
- GK- Religiously read newspapers for the past few months for current affairs. Watched a few UPSC prep YouTube channels to prepare for static GK.
- BQs- Wrote down every possible BQ question I could think of/ was available in any MBA interview guide (Got some interview guides form IIMs)
- Resume prep- Prepared a few talking points for each point on my interview. Wrote down pointers for any possible question on workex, UG, Extra-curriculars, etc.
- Functional knowledge- Prepared for basics of marketing, pricing, org behaviour, etc.
- XLRI specific prep- Studied basic knowledge on XLRI including the values, mission, popular alumni, etc.
Q: Something you think went really well for you in your interviews?
A: The interviewers allowed me to guide the direction for most of the interview. In both my HRM and BM interviews, the initial questions were from my introduction and SOP. Post this, most of the questions were based on my previous answers.
Q: Why did you prefer XLRI? What were your top three criteria?
A: I chose XLRI after a well thought of decision. The key criteria were:
Job profiles offered: My long-term goal is consulting. I wanted to get into a B-school where all major consulting companies hire and XLRI is ideal for this
Alumni network: Strong alumni network like the XLMafia was a major criterion
Median Placement: Post both previous criteria, I arranged prospective B-schools based on their highest and median placements
Q: According to you, overall, how can B-schools make their MBA admission process less cumbersome for MBA applicants.
A: According to me, to improve transparency on the exam pattern, B-schools can provide detailed information about the exam structure, including the number of sections, duration, marking scheme, and question types. Sharing sample questions or mock tests can help applicants understand the format and prepare effectively.
Q: Any myth you would want to bust regarding XAT exam or its preparation?
A: There is a myth that most of the B-School exams heavily favour candidates with a strong quantitative ability or those having more experience in quants (generally engineers). However, quants in XAT focuses more on logical usage of very simple fundamental quant problems. DM section is equally challenging for most candidates.
Q: Finally, your message and tips for candidates preparing for XAT 2024
A: I would like to share following four tips for candidates preparing for XAT 2024:
Understand the Exam: Familiarize yourself with the XAT exam pattern, syllabus, and marking scheme. Understand the different sections and their respective weightage to plan your preparation accordingly.
Strengthen Basics: Build a strong foundation in quantitative aptitude, logical reasoning, verbal ability, and decision-making. Focus on mastering the fundamental concepts before moving on to advanced topics.
Practice Mock Tests: Regularly practice mock tests to simulate the exam environment and assess your performance. Analyse your strengths and weaknesses and work on improving them.
Solve Previous Year Papers: Solve previous years' question papers to get familiar with the question formats and identify recurring patterns or topics. This will help you understand the exam better and boost your confidence.
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